For the second straight year, Pietro’s Fight held its PJs for Pj event, a community wide fundraiser in which schools hold a pajama day in order to raise funds to combat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a disease little Pietro Scarso has been battling for three years.
On Monday, December 21, six-year-old Pietro and his family once again paid a visit to his former school, Stepping Stones the Next Step, 9321 Ridge Boulevard, where pre-kindergarten students all donned pajamas, played games, drank hot chocolate and welcomed Pietro with open arms.
This year’s event saw 35 participating schools, 10 more than last year.
According to Pietro’s Fight Co-Chair Samantha Altilio, what makes this event unique is that it’s for children. “It’s a nice community fundraiser and it’s kids helping kids. That’s the goal for this,” she said. “We have adult fundraisers also but it’s nice to have a kid fundraiser where kids understand why they’re in pajamas and what they’re giving to, which is Pietro.”
Pietro’s father, Manni Scarso, expressed his gratitude for everything everyone has contributed. “We did this to raise funds and awareness in our fight against DMD. All the funds we raise go directly to research to end DMD. Our goal is also to raise as much awareness as possible and bring the community together,” he said, noting that each family of a kid that comes to school in pajamas makes a suggested donation. “The support that we’ve had has been great and we’re making a lot of headway in terms of advanced research.”
Scarso was also thankful that Pietro’s classmates have rallied behind him to help. “Kids understand Pietro, especially his friends and classmates. They know that he has special muscles and they need help and we’re all fighting to give him special muscles,” he said. “He’s really excited today. He went to school and everybody was high-fiving him.”
“This is one of my favorite days because it involves the kids,” added Pietro’s mother, Dayna. “We bring it back to pajamas because it’s a childhood memory.”
“It’s not your typical fundraiser,” added John Quaglione, deputy chief of staff to State Senator Marty Golden. “Kids and children his age or older don’t attend fundraisers or dinner dances. For them, it’s an opportunity to bring it local at an early age and make a contribution to research by scientists looking to end DMD.”
Former teachers were also happy to have Pietro back. “Pietro has been very special to us since he was two years old when we had him as a student here,” said Director of Stepping Stones the Next Step Rosanna Rizzo. “He’s always been near and dear to our hearts. We are a part of every fundraiser. “
Other schools were also thrilled to participate. Elaine Delaney, parent coordinator of P.S. 186 on 19th Avenue in Bensonhurst. told this paper, “The kids loved it. We went around taking pictures and they knew this was going to help him,” she said. “They all care about helping.”
For more information on Pietro’s Fight, visit www.pietrosfight.org.
Photos courtesy of Elaine Delaney